No.1 seed Coco Gauff leads the singles main draw for the ASB Classic, which begins on Monday in Auckland, New Zealand. Four Grand Slam champions join Gauff in the WTA 250 event.
Auckland is returning to the Hologic WTA Tour calendar for the first time since 2020, where Serena Williams defeated Jessica Pegula in an all-American final.
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Here is a review of this year's Auckland bracket, which was released on Sunday afternoon:
First quarter: Gauff, ranked World No.7, opens her season with a first-round match against 2022 Wimbledon semifinalist Tatjana Maria. It will be the American's first meeting with Maria, the crafty mother-of-two from Germany.
Also in Gauff's quarter are two of her Grand Slam-winning compatriots: seven-time major winner Venus Williams and 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin. Gauff could meet Kenin in the second round and Williams or No.6 seed Madison Brengle in the quarterfinals.
Williams, 42, beat Caroline Wozniacki for the 2015 ASB Classic title and finished runner-up to Ana Ivanovic in 2014.
Main draw at Auckland (WTA 250), where Coco Gauff and Sloane Stephens are the top seeds.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) January 1, 2023
Kenin-Wang Xinyu pic.twitter.com/8fWHKJmojy
Second quarter: Bernarda Pera, who won her first two Hologic WTA Tour titles back-to-back last summer, is the No.4 seed and opens against a qualifier. No.7 seed Danka Kovinic is the other seeded player in this quarter.
Pera could face 2021 US Open titlist Emma Raducanu in the second round. Prior to that possibility, Raducanu has a first-round showdown against 17-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova, who won her first WTA title in Chennai last season.
Third quarter: Leylah Fernandez, who finished runner-up to Raducanu at the 2021 US Open, is seeded No.3. Fernandez will take on the younger of the Fruhvirtova sisters, 15-year-old Brenda, in the first round.
Fernandez's fellow Canadian, No.8 seed Rebecca Marino, also is in this quarter, as is Caty McNally, who made her Top 100 singles debut at the end of last year.
Fourth quarter: Sloane Stephens, who won the ASB Classic title in 2016, resides at the bottom of the draw as the No.2 seed. Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, will square off against a qualifier in the opening round.
No.5 seed Wang Xiyu starts against former Top 20 player Karolina Muchova in another first-round clash in the bottom quarter.